POLICE have recovered a stolen taxi and issued a witness appeal after hearing reports of the thief pretending to be a cabbie.

Yesterday, the Adver told of how passengers picked up from Wood Street feared for their lives after the driver swerved around Swindon's roads at 100mph then threatened them and tried to run them over when they escaped.

The driver then returned to Old Town and picked up more customers, including family members of those passengers.

Wiltshire Police have released a description of the suspect, who is described as Asian, aged in his 20s or 30s, and spoke with a local accent. He was wearing a mask and also purple latex gloves on one occasion.

Officers found the stolen taxi in Walcot on Wednesday.

PC James Mann said: “Those who say they were picked up by this taxi have said the driver was acting in an aggressive and threatening way, as well as driving erratically.

“Thankfully, nobody was injured and it is good news that the taxi has now been recovered. However it is concerning that the thief appeared to use the taxi to pose as a legitimate driver.

“We are investigating both the theft and the subsequent incidents involving the man posing as a taxi driver, and are following up a number of lines of enquiry.

“Please note that anyone wishing to verify the identity of any taxi driver can request to see photographic ID, or they can call the taxi company directly to confirm details and information.”

The thief stole the cab from Springfield Road overnight between Friday evening and Saturday morning. Police then received several reports about the thief driving the vehicle around Swindon and using it to pose as a taxi driver and pick up customers.

One passenger told the Adver: "He was taking us in a weird direction and one of my friends was really suspicious so he started asking the driver to stop, who then pulled the handbrake. My friend then got out.

"At the time I just wanted to get home but he was begging us to get out, saying 'that's not a real taxi driver'. In the end my friend dragged us both out.

"It was a mental situation, his driving was insane and when he tried to run us over and mentioned he had a gun I definitely feared for my life.

Anyone with information about the theft should call Wiltshire Police on 101 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.